Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lilac Time

It’s Lilac time in Ohio. We had more lilac bushes than I could count in our yard at the house where I grew up. I remember May mornings when we could finally open the windows a little, the fragrance of lilacs wafting in while we ate breakfast. As you’ve probably already figured out, lilacs are my favorite flower, I really miss them. Lilac time also means it’s May, and I think about time to figure out what we know about the Rangers at this point.

1. This team can pitch – most of the time. I like the starting pitching (Rich Harden included), I like the middle relievers (but I worry about over using Darren Oliver). I don’t think the dual closer is a good idea (see last night’s game). Feliz should close the majority of games, if he’s pitched several days in a row, then I guess we’ll be subjected to Frank (although I’d rather see Chris Ray used as closer if Feliz can’t do it that day). This is repeating myself: Francisco has not been the same since his stint on the DL last season – and that has continued. The manager’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge that and adjust the bullpen accordingly could turn out to be a big problem in as close a race as the AL west is likely to be.

2. This team is playing terrible defense. What happened? This is basically the same team that played excellent defense last season (well, except at 1B). Right now it looks like the Rangers are going to win games by pitching – which means they’ll need defense to help that pitching – and it’s not been a help so far. Don’t discount defense, as was pointed out in the Startlegram mailbag last week: “The Angels execute when asked to bunt or hit-and-run, they don’t make a bunch of defensive miscues” and that’s part of the reason they’ve won the AL the last three seasons.

3. This team can’t hit.  As TR Sullivan mention on his blog: the  Rangers hit .224 during the Seattle series with just 2 extra base hits. The reason they swept the series is that the Mariners offense is even worse than the Rangers – and the Mariners handed the Rangers Friday night’s game. Twice this season the Rangers have been no hit for 5 or more innings. While I’m not looking for the offense of the 1998-1999 teams – major league average hitting would be nice. I thought “situational” hitting was the new mantra, but there’s not much this season (other than Elvis Andrus and sometimes Josh Hamilton). I'm wondering  if  any of the hitters are actually practicing what the hitting coach is preaching. Still looks like “aggressive in the strike zone” to me – and opposing pitchers are taking advantage of that.

A few other random baseball thoughts:

Sell High: After his performance subbing for Ian Kinsler in April, I’m guessing Joaquin Arias’ trade value is probably better than it has been for a couple years. When he comes off the DL it might be the time to explore that possibility rather than wait for his next DL stint.

Somewhere in between: I’ve stopped worrying about Josh Hamilton. I love his arm in LF, I wish there were a way to figure out how many runners haven’t tagged up and advanced, as well as how many runs he’s saved throwing to home. As far as offense, I’ve kind of thought 2008 and 2009 were outliers and that his normal stats will be somewhere in between those highs and lows. By the way has anyone noticed in the last 10 games, he has 13 extra base hits, 11 BB and 13 RBI ?

Ron Washington: “The kid has had a rough time but we're trying to build confidence. We're not going to take him out of there. The way to build confidence is to keep giving kids opportunities.”….unless your name is Chris Davis

Just a thought:   Matt Treanor 2010 = Kevin Elster 1996 ?

Old Friends: Our pal Jason Botts playing 1B/OF/DH for the Camden Riversharks (Atlantic Independent League) is hitting .405 with 2 HR and 5 RBI’s in his first 8 games.

Finally: First place on May 4th is nice, first place on September 4th is better.

“A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.”

-- Alice Persons “Stealing Lilacs”

1 comment:


What part of Ohio? We have lilacs in our back yard here in New London!